Holly Sansom, Operations Director
Holly Sansom is a theatre administrator and co-host of the Thesis on Joan podcast that amplifies LBGTQ+ voices in the NY theatre scene. Their previous experience includes General Manager and Ensemble member of Honest Accomplice Theatre, a company creating devised work by women and trans people; Production Supervisor of the Theatre on Film and Tape Archive at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Roundabout Theatre Company, and Epic Theatre Ensemble.
Liz Morgan, Director of Training & Pedagogy
Liz Morgan is an award-winning theatre artist based in NYC. She has studied theatre and dance abroad at the London Dramatic Academy, the Jana Sanskriti Centre for Theatre of the Oppressed in India and the Yeredon Center for Malian Arts where she facilitated The Communal Bowl Conference on malnutrition and the arts. She holds both a B.A. and M.F.A. from Brown University where she was a graduate teaching fellow in the Theatre Arts department as well as the recipient of the Davis Wickham Prize for Excellence in Playwriting. As a teaching artist in NYC, Liz has worked with Opening Act, The Other Side and People's Theatre Project. She is currently a member of the A.R.T./New York Body Autonomy Leadership Council. lizmorganonline.com
Omari Soulfinger, Director of Communications & Creative Advocacy
Omari Soulfinger is a comedic performing artist dedicated to creative advocacy. Since 2001, Omari has worked with under-served families and their communities in various capacities, including as a classroom teacher, social worker, and advocate. Omari is a member-organizer with Brooklyn Movement Center, a facilitator with Theatre of the Oppressed NYC, Ramapo For Children, Mankind Project, and All Kings. omarisoulfinger.com
Philip Santos Schaffer, Development Director
Philip Santos Schaffer is a theatre creator, producer, and administrator. Philip has produced, associate produced, and assistant produced Julie Atlas Muz and Mat Fraser’s Jack & The Beanstalk, the Between the Seas festival, the Living Theatre’s Burning the Living tour, and numerous shows with his own company, WalkUpArts. Philip has worked in development for small arts education and arts access organizations across New York City. Philip has a BFA in Directing from Hofstra University and an MFA in Dramaturgy from Columbia University. www.philipsantosschaffer.com / www.walkuparts.com
Sulu LeoNimm, Executive Director (Interim)
Sulu LeoNimm has worked with TONYC since 2011 as a Joker facilitating Forum Theatre Troupes, Joker Trainings, and workshops, and formerly as Program Director. They support TONYC's membership in ArtsPool as a member of the Operations and Steering Committees. Sulu has been a Brooklyn-based theater artist and physical theater performer since 2003, enthralled with making ensemble-devised work. They created and toured work as co-founder of Pack of Others, and performed with various ensembles in NYC, Denver and Seattle.
Adama Diallo, Joker
Amorarey Sandoz, Joker
Amorarey, the young actor from the Bronx, came from joining TONYC in 2017 to now jokering in 2020. The first play he's been in being "Mask Off" by the Bronx Troupe... that troupe's sadly is no longer around, but he sure will be. Amorarey works in the improv troupe Friends of the Family and does stand up comedy at late night bars. He's the guy you can trust to make something out of anything and do it with a laugh.
Donnay Edmund, Joker
Gariyana Williams, Joker
Gariyana started working with Theatre of the Oppressed NYC as an Actor with the Crown Heights YO S.O.S. Troupe in October of 2016. Since then, she's gone from Actor to Joker-in-Training, and has been working with TONYC's Housing Works troupe, and her original troupe at YO S.O.S.
Julian Pimiento, Joker
Julian Pimiento comes from a legacy of artists educators and travelers. Julian was born in beautiful Bucaramanga, Colombia, and nurtured his passion for immigrant and human rights growing up undocumented in white-centric working-class Greenpoint, Brooklyn. He explores the complexities and injustices of cultural and social assimilation through playwriting, acting, directing, and Theatre of the Oppressed Jokering. Julian holds a BA in Individual Studies (with a focus on Latino Studies and Theatre of the Oppressed) from Goddard College and a MA in Applied Theatre from The City University of New York.
Letitia Bouie, Joker
Letitia started acting with the Concrete Justice Troupe in May 2013. Her first play was “The Housing Circus” and the character she took on was the Lion Tamer, a character who personified her real life experiences. She worked hard by attending TONYC workshops and events that geared her towards becoming an activist/actress while learning more about people who have experienced homelessness. In November 2017, she took on the role of Joker/Facilitator, joined the P.B.NYC Budget Committee, and became one of TONYC’s Arts & Homeless / Housing & Equity Justice Delegates.
Maaji Nishizaka, Joker
Maajidah Nishizaka is a natural born activist, poet, and creator from the Bronx who has worked with TONYC for several years as an actor, and has performed and published an original book of poems with the organization's flagship troupe, Concrete Justice. A love for screen, photography, music and theatre, Maajidah enjoys working with Windows of Hip Hop and was recently in an independent film called Rocona Park. This past Mother's Day for the first time in her life, Maajidah was the Executive Director of the play “The Cart” which she co-starred in alongside members of the Concrete Justice Troupe members Bill Lee and Marcus Moore at the Wow Cafe. The show was dedicated to Anthony Horton, a beautiful member of TONYC who lived in the subway and was killed in a fire.
Max Freedman, Joker
Max Freedman has been a Joker with TONYC since 2012. Troupes include Housing Works (Some Things $ Can't Buy, Apartment Complex), Youth Organizing to Save Our Streets (Guilty by Association), Harlem Justice Corps (Statistic), LaGuardia Performing Arts Center (Gender Sacred), Majora Carter Group (Memories of the Future), and Concrete Justice (The Housing Circus, The Daily Lives of Street Vendors). Max is a Senior Educator at the New-York Historical Society, where he created a new outreach program using theater to teach American history. He is one of the producers of Unsettled, a new podcast about Israel-Palestine and the Jewish diaspora, and working on a limited podcast series about Central Brooklyn public schools for Brooklyn Deep. He recently joined Pratt Institute as adjunct faculty in Art and Design Education. B.A. in Theatre, Northwestern University. M.S. in Design and Urban Ecologies, Parsons School of Design.
Tasha Grant, Joker
Tasha Grant is a multidisciplinary educator for abolition, applied theatre practitioner, and consultant from Newark, New Jersey. Tasha works from a culturally responsive framework and spends a lot of time reimagining education that centers students' social-emotional growth, and that provides them with access to social justice and political education. With over ten years of experience in education and youth development across the New York/New Jersey area, and as a former charter high school theatre teacher, Tasha is currently working with Theatre of the Oppressed NYC using theatre as a tool to foster critical consciousness in young people. She holds a B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Theatre from Utica College and an M.A. in Educational Theatre from New York University.
Spark LeoNimm, Joker
Spark LeoNimm is a Founding Member Joker of TONYC. He has studied Theatre of the Oppressed with Falconworks and in Guatemala with Stephane Gue. He is also a hospital Clown with Healthy Humor, Inc's Red Nose Docs and has toured with Clowns Without Borders to Mexico & Guatemala. Spark also teaches and creates subversive physical comedy: tinyDANGEROUSfun! variety show & co-created the award winning Handshake Uppercut. He is a graduate from the Dell 'Arte School of Physical Theatre. Awards: Gold Medal, NY Clown Olympics; Best Comedy & Best Physical Theatre, SF Fringe Fest; Encore Award, Boulder Fringe Fest; "Must See," Chicago Fringe Fest; Individual Artist Project Award; Rasmussen Foundation. Photo credit: Will O'Hare. johnleo.net
Katy Rubin, Founder & Former Executive Director
Katy Rubin is a joker, director, actor and circus artist. She has facilitated and directed Forum and Legislative Theater workshops and performances in partnership with various communities including homeless adults and youth; LGBT homeless teens; people living with HIV/AIDS; recent immigrants; and court-involved youth and adults. Katy trained with Augusto Boal at the Center for Theatre of the Oppressed—Rio de Janeiro, and later with Jana Sanskriti in India, Mind the Gap in Yorkshire and Cardboard Citizens in London. She has trained facilitators in Nicaragua, the Netherlands, Norway and New Orleans as well as NYC. She holds a BFA in Acting from the Boston University School of Theater. Photo credit: Will O'Hare
Brandon Holmes, Board Chair
Brandon J. Holmes is the New York City Campaign Coordinator at JLUSA. He oversees city-based advocacy campaigns, engaging the organization’s members, fostering partner relationships, and developing long term advocacy strategies. Previously, Brandon served as an organizer for the New York Civil Liberties and as the civil rights organizer for VOCAL-NY. Brandon is committed to amplifying the voices of directly impacted communities through unconventional forms of political and social advocacy. His grassroots campaigning experience includes organizing returning citizens and criminal justice-involved youth. Brandon has also been a part of the training team for People’s Action, a national organization made up of 600 organizers and over 1 million members from 29 states. He comes to this work with a deep family history of incarceration and substance use. Brandon fights for family reunification and to provide opportunities for every child who has been harmed by the criminal justice system.
Josh Van Kirk, Board Member
Josh Van Kirk is an associate attorney at Kirkland & Ellis LLP in the Capital Markets practice. Prior to law school Josh worked in a variety of direct service and administrative roles in education including as a teacher in both the New York City and Baltimore City Public School systems, as a college access and success counselor at a non-profit organization in New York City and the executive director of a not-for-profit early education center in Vermont. Josh earned a JD, magna cum laude, from Brooklyn Law School in 2017, where he was a Sparer Public Interest Fellow, an MA in education from Johns Hopkins University in 2002 and a BA in English from the University of Vermont in 1999.
Juncal Plazaola-Castaño, Board Member
Patrick Kowalczyk, Board Member
Patrick Kowalczyk is the founder and president of PKPR, a boutique public relations firm representing organizations working to disrupt business as usual and create positive social change. Clients include The Knight Foundation, The Mozilla Foundation, Designing Justice + Designing Spaces, Echoing Green, The Dayton Literary Peace Prize, ESI Design, ArtBuilt, and the Economic Hardship Reporting Project. Patrick began his career working in politics, including serving as press secretary for U.S. Representative Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), the first woman elected to Congress who had once received public assistance. He graduated from Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism and Mass Media. Patrick has been on the board of Theatre of the Oppressed NYC since 2015. He previously served as a board member of Live Out Loud, an organization for LGBTQ youth, from 2005 - 2014.
Mersadez George, Board Member
Mersadez is a freelance artrivist who uses a variety of art forms to advocate and create positive and meaningful change.
Roni Givigliano, Board Member
Roni believes theatre's aesthetic and political missions are inseparable. She has worked at a range of brilliantly innovative arts nonprofits, among them the Lark Theater Company, Atlantic Theater Company, SPACE on Ryder Farm, Woodshed Collective, Dance New Amsterdam, and Breaking Walls. Fascinated and inspired by artists and their work, she's made her career facilitating and supporting choreographers, playwrights, filmmakers and multi-media artists, devoting herself to ensuring a future for the increasingly threatened spheres of the arts. She holds a BA in Theatre from Cornell and an MFA in Film from Columbia.
Sharon Polli, Board Member
Sharon Polli has a successful 15-year track record of supporting community-based arts and culture organizations. Currently, Sharon is Executive Vice President at BRIC, Brooklyn’s leading presenter of free cultural programming. During her tenure with BRIC, Sharon first worked with the Board and staff to get the organization into a state of readiness for the opening of BRIC House, a state-of-the-art arts and media center in the Brooklyn Cultural District. Today, Sharon is charged with developing long-term strategies to ensure BRIC can continue to make cultural programming accessible and provide substantial support to artists. Sharon also served as Deputy Executive Director of Groundswell, New York City’s leading community public art organization, where she oversaw day-to-day operations to ensure the meaningful engagement of 800 youth and 65 community-based partners in the creation of 60 public artworks annually. Sharon is an alumni of Coro Leadership NY and a graduate of Carleton College. She is Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of Theatre of the Oppressed NYC.